Archive for September, 2007

Stadium Rennovation Project Now to Include Football Team

September 30, 2007

Well, I said that by the end of the game last night, we’d all have a very different opinion of this team and I was wrong.

It actually only took until the end of the 3rd quarter for me to conclude that what I thought was a glimmering hope for better things to come was actually heat waves steaming up off of the giant pile of shit that is our defense.

I hate to be so critical of our young players because I know they’re doing their best. The problem is, many of them have no business being on a Pac-10 football field. This descent into mediocrity and – now beyond – lies squarely on the shoulder of ol’ Dobes and staff.
I don’t believe he’s forgotten how to coach football but let’s face it, as much as Price could be a goof, he had the charisma that Doba lacks. The kind of charisma that gets young athletes to “drink the Kool-Aid.” Not having seen much of the last two recruiting classes, we can’t say for sure if the cupboard is bare but it sure doesn’t look promising.

The modern era of high expectations for Cougar football began in 1988. At that time there was still a lingering sentiment of “we may lose, but we’ll get drunk and have fun”; but we slowly began to expect competitive football and then, bowl games. We hit a speed bump after Leaf departed but came back with a vengeance during the Gesser years. Sadly, the departure of the King of Poop Island has ended up to be not just the disappointment that it was then – but the beginning of the end.

Despite all the success that the program has enjoyed over the last 15 years, it has not been enough to elicit big-time donations from our alumni. What happens now? Jim Sterk is going to have a lot of damage control on his hands over the next few months and is going to need to find a new coach that will begin what looks to be a major re-building effort.

No time like the present to start throwing names around. Who should be the next Cougar Head Coach? Chris Petersen? Steve Sarkisian? Robb Akey? Longball? …

You Can’t Polish A Terd, Beavis

September 30, 2007

WOW! How good was that, Cougar Nation?!

I mean, if you can’t be a bowl team, why not head dead straight for the Bottom Ten?!

Just to recap, we just gave up 48 points and ONLY scored 20!

Yes, despite the fact that Gipson and Collins are really good and Brink had some moments of brilliance, we aren’t even that good on offense!!!!!!

The good news is that tonight we batted .500 on fake punts…that’s at least .333 for the year..those are All-Star game type numbers in Brinkhater’s book.

So, give us your takes….

Here’s mine:

The era of Bill Doba just ended..

A Compelling Gameday

September 29, 2007

Top of the morn to you, Cougar Nation. And welcome to the most compelling game day that we’ve had since the Cougs headed to Corvallis in 2005.

On that day, we were 3-0, fat and sassy, and looking at returning to the rankings for the first time in a year. Of course, things looked great early as we raced to a 30-7 halftime lead: the Ghost was unstoppable and Brink was well on his way to a single game, school record of 540+ passing yards.

But, as we all know, the second half was a different story. From the emergence of Brink’s inability to throw over the middle to someone on his own team, to Bumpus’ fumble, to Jason Hill’s injury, to the loss of Derting for the year, we went from what seemed to be a surefire 4-0 to a 4-7 season before we could even blink. With a different second half, what happens to the rest of the season? If Derting stays healthy, what happens to that team? If Hill stays healthy, do we lose to Stanford the next week? From Brinkhater’s perspective, a different second half on that fateful first weekend in October would have meant that the Cougs would have entered SC 7-0 and would have flirted with a 8-3 or 9-2 year as was predicted on this very blog. And if that had occured, what would last year have looked like? What would recruiting look like today?

No one knows what the second half is going to hold tonight, but the sense of Brinkhater is that tonight’s game is going to be in play at the end of the first half. Thus, the whole fate of the PROGRAM hinges on what happens in the second half of tonight’s game.

As I noted early in the year, Alex Brink is going to have to be near super human for us to hover around .500 this year. And tonight is going to be no exception. Simply put, for us to win this game tonight, Alex Brink is going to have to throw for at least 400 yards with probably 4 Touches and ZERO interceptions. In addition, the running game is going to have to have at least 125 on the ground. That’s right, in order for us to win, we will need to amass at least 525 yards of total offense. Brinkhater things we will also have to score 42 points.

But wait, there’s more!

We’ll also have to play a good game on special teams and limit our turnovers to ONE.

Think we can do it?

In Brinkhater’s view, tonight is ALL ABOUT ALEX BRINK. Can he rise to meet the challenge of winning a must win game? Can he lead the team to 3 or 4 touchdowns tonight on sure will and moxy alone? Can he keep himself and his teammates cool despite constant pressure to score on every possession?

We’ll find out.

Granted, nothing would make Brinkhater happier than to see the Cougs come out and smack a 41-21 pasting on the Mildcats.

But tonight I think we will see how bad the D really is, and within that, will see how our hapless Defense and Defensive Scheme actually KILLS the production of the offense. Again, for us to win, Alex has to be GREAT in spite of getting his touches once every 5 to 7 football minutes. But if we lose, I doubt that it will be his fault.

Mildcats 38 Cougars 24

Other games:

CAL 44 Oregon 41: I like CAL in this one as Dixon stays in pocket and can’t deliver on the last possession of the game.

SC 45 Washington 10: Message to Ty; when its 24-0 in the first half, pull your quarterback..Brinkhater does not see Jake walking after this game.

ASU 41 Stanford 27. Much closer than people think. Kinda like the close game that Brinkhater called between Arizona and CAL last week (gulp!)

UCLA 28 Oregon State 27: UCLA proves once and for all what many of you already know–Oregon State ain’t any good, and thus, Brinkhater really knows nothing about football….

Enjoy the games.

A Riddle

September 28, 2007
How can it be very cold yet very, very hot on a football field at the same time?
This will be the only picture of a Husky football player I post on this blog all year…
scroll down…

Ronald Martinez/GettyImages

Football Friday Week 5: Hot-Seat Bowl Set for Saturday Night

September 28, 2007

Welcome to Football Friday, week 5 style. And get ready for the Hot-Seat Bowl. I threw out a little preview over here, so check it out if you want. While I didn’t make a prediction over there, I will here in just a moment.

I call it the hot-seat bowl for the obvious. If Stoops loses this game, they are 1-4 and for all intents and purposes, he’s done in Tucson. Sure, they started 3-5 only to rally late last year in impressive fashion, but a 1-4 start with so many difficult games still to come on their schedule, they are officially done. For Doba, a loss here puts us under .500, and like Arizona, with so many brutal matchups yet to come, particularly on the road, we lose this one and you can clear off your calendar after the Apple Cup, for the 4th year in a row will be a bowl-less holiday season.

Anyway, the thing that gets me about this game is that while the hype is on the passing games, it’s going to be all the “other stuff” that decides it. You know, stuff like defense, special teams, and maybe even the running game. And that’s where I’m nervous from my WSU fan view. The third down defense is the worst in America, and our passing D is in the triple-digits among all teams. That, my friends, is simply not good, and I dare anyone to try and spin that in a positive light. Doba says “we’re getting better”, which might be true in some ways. But how a coach can say that when his team failed to even force a single punt last week, well, I just don’t get it. I guess he’s forced to try and put on a positive face when trying to describe a weakness that is so glaringly obvious, and he’s got to try and pump those kids up. It’s part of his job to make them feel good about themselves, and not simply pile on the dirt on top of an already deep hole.

But no matter how I look at this one, I just can’t get past the defensive ineptness. Not that Arizona is an offensive GOD like Cal or Oregon or USC right now, but they really aren’t that far off throwing the ball. And their clear strength, in fact their obvious strategy, is to spread you out and nail you on the quick stuff. Therein lies the biggest reason we’re in huge trouble this week. And I’m not just saying this because of what happened vs. USC. Watching our linebackers and secondary trying to stop Idaho was a chore, and I’ll say it again, if a frosh QB wasn’t pulling the trigger for the Vandals, that game could have gone in a very, very ugly direction. Our linebackers and secondary just can’t cover very well, period, end of story, and with the pass rush not doing a whole lot when it counts, it’s a lethal mix.

I hate to be negative, and this is a WSU fan blog in every sense, but folks, unless we see a drastic improvement in the passing defense, I just don’t see it this week. I’m going Arizona 37, WSU 30.

Other games:

Oregon 49, Cal 45 – It’s Bananas Offense as teams combine for over 1,000 yards. Dixon will erase memory from last year’s meltdown at Berkeley that started the Ducks slide. Jonathan Stewart will have a huge game, as the Cal D lacks bite. Bellotti nails his former pupil in a big game, finally.
USC 39, UW 16 – It’ll actually be close for the first quarter or so, but USC will pull away. We’ve seen this drill far too often. Be careful Jake Locker, for you may want to slide or run out of bounds instead of trying to run over Maualuga or Rivers at linebacker. Those guys want to put you in the MORGUE, not the hospital, ala Dick Butkus.
OSU 27, UCLA 24 – Canfield actually takes care of the ball, Bernard has a strong day, and the Beavs ride the homefield advantage to a big key win.
ASU 40, Stanford 21 – Dennis the Liar keeps the heat on the rest of the conference. Rudy and that offense is something else right now.

Enjoy the game. I HOPE I’M WRONG! And GO COUGS!

Will it Get Better? Or Have We Only Just Begun?

September 25, 2007

Don’t you just love Pete Carroll? High School Harry, as they call him, but that genuine enthusiasm is infectious. Look at all the talent he gets on a yearly basis, just so much talent in the pipeline it’s amazing, and yet all those kids play their butts off for him. He’s got “open” Wednesdays in practice, where literally all jobs are up for grabs and the players fight like hell. On Fridays he’s got the lineman vs. lineman game, wherever they are, and the only rule is no running plays. I know the Reggie Bush scandal, I know about the Matt Lienart – Dwayne Jarrett free rent deal, but they are the teflon program right now.

And what a perfect situation he’s in down there. He’s King of the LA football scene, making all that dough and just a complete rock-star coach in every sense of the word. As I told Brinkhater on Sunday, let the NFL rumor mill churn, but he’s a complete FOOL if he ever bolts that program. Why walk away from something like that? I guess we all need a challenge in life, a reason to get out of bed in the morning, and there’s only so many championships you can win on a lower level before the hunger eats you alive and you have to try on the highest level again. Especially since Carroll already gave it a shot at the NFL, and did an average-at-best job. But he’s really a Dennis Erickson if you ask me, a guy who’s going to be a hall-of-famer in the college ranks, but doesn’t really need to prove himself on the next level.

Anyway, the P-I had some good notes on the ineptness of our ’07 defense, so I had to use some of it this AM. Good stuff too. It’s especially drastic when you compare where we are today vs. where we used to be, in very recent times as a matter of fact.

I did some housecleaning on the site too. Longball wanted some fresh links, so I’ve updated them to the right. The Spokesman link now takes you right to SportsLink, and the WSU roster was added as well. Also new is a link to the stats site, which is an excellent point of reference that is updated by Monday morning at the latest. I removed the Oregon Ducks Wines Family link, as while it’s a good site, I don’t think any of us were actually reading it. I want to build on the links as well, and maybe we’ll feature a Pac-10 section of blog links that hit each Pac-10 team. This thing is always a work in progress, so if there’s something you want to see, let us know!

Finally, we’re going to start seeing some advertisements hit the site in the next 24-48 hours. Nothing too distracting, and it shouldn’t be a bunch of pop-ups or anything like that, but we’ll see how it goes. We can always shut them off if they suck or whatever.

Program On The Line

September 24, 2007

Well, now that the hangover from last night has lifted, we now sit on the cusp of the most important week this program has faced in a long, long time. Lose this game this weekend @ the Mildcats and you can kiss it all goodbye. NO WAY do we even “sniff” respectability if we lose this game. The legacies of Doba and Brink will rest BIG TIME on this game. No ifs, ands, or buts about it…

With regard to the Conquest post-mordem, here are Brinkhater’s takes:

1. Southern Cal was GREAT. Relentless depth at tailback and the fastest most punishing play that I’ve seen in the LB corps and defensive backfield from a Pac-10 team in a long time. Man, do they hit people. And their physicality of both lines was, again, really, really impressive.

2. Our defense is just beyond awful. Credit Doba, his scheme is such that he is keeping teams under 60 points–hence no plays longer than 25 yards. But, correct me if I’m wrong, DOES ANYONE CARE IF WE LOSE BY 70? Brinkhater sure doesn’t, but I’d sure like to see us work a scheme that will allow us to win a game this season!!!! Like I’ve said, STANFORD will score 38 on us today, but I’m not sure we can score that much given our style of play….we just are NOT a quick hit team offensively…

3. Brink did not have a good game. But face it folks, what you saw yesterday is what you will see for most guys running for their dear life for the whole day. The only type of player who would do okay against a D like that is a top 5 or 10 NFL guy…and Brink is not that kind of player..if you ask him to do more than manage a game, he will fail you…Unfortunately, we are asking him to be too much this year….and frankly, it just isn’t fair…Again, if we had ANY type of defense, we wouldn’t be that bad…

4. Our special teams might be as bad as our defense…the formations stink, the players stink, the coaching stinks…..

5. Brinkhater’s main man, Gary Rogers, looked simply AWFUL running with the second team O. Simply put: we saw last night what next year is going to look like if GR or whomever doesn’t get some serious snaps this year. It made watching Brink seem like watching a Heisman trophy candidate.

The bottom line in all of this folks, is that last year was the year where we should have had our 1 in 3 year bowl game…Unfortunately, an array of injuries marred what woulda, coulda, shoulda been a Sun or Holiday bowl trip…and now, we are staring at a bleak season this year and next year as well.

So, feel free to start up the “its time to panic” engine, Cougar faithful. Win this weekend, and hope will continue for the coming weeks. Lose, and the whole darn program will come apart at the seems….Lose this game and there’s NO WAY that we beat ASU or Oregon…and start the conference slate 0-4 and heads will roll…

Lets hope we can leave Tuscon on Saturday with a W!

Just Don’t Embarass Yourselves Baby!

September 21, 2007

Low blow, I know. Hey, nobody thought we stood a chance last year and we damn-near pulled it off, so you really just never know…

I just finished up my lunch of almonds and Cougar Gold Cheese… Today marks day 15 of the South Beach Diet “Phase 1”. Phase 1 is where you eliminate almost all carbs from your diet. It lasts 2 weeks, so technically I could start phasing carbs back into my diet today; but since I’ve lost about 6 pounds I figured I’d hold off. Phase 2 kicks off tomorrow with a big-ass cheeseburger (no bun), a salad instead of fries … and about 18 Miller Lites.

No keys to victory or anything like that but here are three things I’d love to see happen tomorrow:

1) A Cougar Victory. (duh)
2) Stay Healthy. (Do you get the feeling that Dobes is treating Pitoitua like that 1972 Datsun with 200,000 miles on it that your mom and dad bought you in high school? “I know it’s not in perfect shape anymore, son; but it was free. Just drive it until the wheels fall off and maybe by that time you can afford that muscle car you want… Now, here’s $8. Get your fat ass in your piece of shit little car and drive down to Super Cuts – you look like a fag with that long hair.” I digress…
3) GET BETTER. You don’t learn lessons and improve by going up against inferior competition.

Queue the music! [‘Glory Days’ plays softly in the background…]

Back in 1987 (Good GOD! That was 20 years ago!?), a struggling young center for the Fightin’ Cougars of Bothell High was asked to stay after practice to “work on technique”. This is how it went: Center snaps ball into his taint; then gets blasted by not one, but two all-conference defensive tackles. And so it went for an entire week of practice. The first day or two were ugly but by the end of the week, the young center with the billowing mullett was holding his own.

With our stable of stud receivers, we can only hope that Dobes and staff are putting our young DB’s through the same type of workout every week. (Although it should be noted that despite the rigorous week of practice, the Bothell Cougs lost a tooth-and-nail battle on the road that Friday night to a juggernaut Interlake team led by All-Staters and future Huskies Mike Lustyk and Kevin Kearney and Nebraska-bound wideout Jon Bostick. The final score: 50-20.)

The epilogue to this little story is that the young center – indeed, a young McBoob – eschewed a walk-on opportunity to play “at the next level” for Western Washington University – for the opportunity to sneak baggies full of booze into Martin Stadium on Cougar Football Saturdays. Now one day into his 37th year on the big blue marble, Hooty lacks the capacity to remember a four-item grocery list but can recall useless tales of high school football with uncanny accuracy.

Cougs 20 – USC 50

Football Friday Week 4: LOTS TO (im) PROVE

September 21, 2007

Hello Cougar Nation and welcome to Football Friday, Week 4 style. It hard to believe that when the clock strikes midnight this Saturday night, we will be 1/3 done with the season. Amazing.

As the starting point of today’s post, we have the question from LongBall (I think) who wondered when was the last time we had a signature win?

For Brinkhater, the answer would be the Holiday Bowl Win over Texas. Feel free to give us your thoughts on that specific question if you are so inclined. One thing is for sure: it sure feels like A LONG TIME ago….

With that in mind, in the event that the unthinkable happens and we actually win this game, let me say in advance that no one would deserve a win like that as much as Dobes. Furthermore, not only would it be great for him (little Alex), but i think it would do wonders for the program to have the future record holder in all passing categories have such a monumental W to accompany his legacy. I’m rooting for #10 to lead us to the unthinkable……

Of course, the main question of this game pertains to the Defense, which, in my estimation is the worst that we’ve had in my near 20 years as a Coug (If you can think of a worse group, please let me know). Are we content to play bend, bend, bend, bend, bend, touchdown, or will we actually try to force the issue and try to stop someone?

Personally, I don’t think that Doba can enter this game with the mindset “let’s let ’em have both the pass AND the run.” Against SC, you MUST try to take something away–especially since its a game that everyone thinks you are going to lose. And we all know that Doba is smart enough to know that you can’t expect to have the corners play 15 off, the safeties 20 yards off, and be able to stop the run or pass against SC…

So, I think that Dobes will stack the box in this one with the hope that MAYBE, JUST MAYBE, we’ll either muster a pass rush OR Booty will have a bad day.

It never hurts to dream, right?

In the end, I think that this game comes down to the number of possessions. IF the number is higher than 15 per side or lower than 9 per side, then I think that favors us at least to make it interesting…

In the end, I think that the game will have 25 total possessions. We will have 12, they will run out the clock with 13.

Against a good defense (or even a great one), I think that scoring on 50% of your drives would be playing nearly out of your gourd. And, while I think that our O is tough, I just don’t envision us being able to have that kind of production. Instead, I think we’ll score on 1 out of every 4 times that we get the rock (which is still good). For me, that’s 21 points. Unfortunately, Brinkhater also feels a TO that will result in some points for the nation of Conquest.

As for SC on O, nothing that I have seen makes me think we will stop them more than 3-4 times (max) in this game. I think they’ll sit on possession #13 (we’ll count that as a stop), punt twice, and turn the ball over once. That means that on 9 possessions they’ll score. Which leads me to the final score:

USC 59 Washington State 21

Remember, the name of the game for us is to stay healthy and improve. Next week is our MUST WIN game. Hopefully, Doba will let those corners fail so they will be ready to rumble against the Mildcats’ spread attack next week. Its all about improvement, folks, lets hope the Cougs show some throughout this contest!

Other Pac-10 Games

UW 27 UCLA 24. Hate to make this call, but Ty is a better coach than Dorrell and UCLA will look slow compared to OSU. Jake will be up this week, then VERY down the next.

CAL 41 Arizona 34. Don’t forget that CAL has no D and Arizona is improving in that new spread offense. In spite of the revenge factor, this one will be close.

ASU 35 Oregon State 28. Tough early loss for Beavs, a nice feather in Denny’s cap.

Oregon 55 Stanford 10. One word: OUCH!!!!

(not) Big-10 game of the Week:

Meecheegan 21 Penn State 20: Name this one the “slow” bowl.

Enjoy the games this weekend…..

(Man, do I want an upset in the worst way…)

Is It Football Season Yet?

September 19, 2007

Seriously? It’s already Week 4?! How can this be? I’ve only seen the Cougs play (in person) one time so far; and won’t see them again until they return for their Week 6 matchup with the Gun Devils (Dennis already has 1 recruiting class in the fold, it won’t be long before the crime rate jumps up by 25% in Tempe). With all due respect to Jim Sterk, absence does not make the heart grow fonder. With our ‘d’ (lower-case) it’s more like ‘outta sight; outta mind.”

Thanks for the intro, Brinkhater. I’m looking forward to contributing to the blog. I probably won’t spend a lot of time (over)analyzing our matchups but I will undoubtedly bitch and moan about any number of subjects pertaining to Cougar Football. I also promise to post at least once, completely snot-hanging drunk – that might be fun, don’cha think?

I’d write a quick re-cap of my observations at the Idaho game but I couldn’t see the field from my new seats in the family section. What the hell was I thinking?! I gave up two seats (conveniently not enough seats to take the wife AND the kids to the game) five rows from the field on the 50 yard line – for four seats in the family section. So now, aside from the fact that I’m barely even IN the fucking stadium, I’ll spend all my time toting my little angels off to the bathroom and answering my wife’s inane questions. (“Why do the stripes on the football only go half-way around? Why do the Cougars wear red helmets sometimes and other times wear silver??) Shoot me now… Oh yeah, I can’t drink or swear either. Can you say “buyer’s remorse?”

You know how little kids think it’s fun to wrap their arms around your leg and have you walk around while they’re attached to you? I bet we could sneak Kensok onto the field by riding Ropati’s leg into the huddle. Or maybe he could be neatly tucked under Ahmu’s gut. Either way, 12 (OK, 11.5) players on ‘d’ might be the only chance we have to beat USC. It’s gonna be ugly, Cougs. Drink up.